Friday, July 10, 2009

Quinn Cummings, Guest Blogger here today!!!

Quinn Cummings, author, inventor, mother, fellow blogger and in a previous life, actress and agent. And while that’s quite an impressive mini-bio it wouldn’t be complete without mentioning she’s my new Best Friend. Second BFF, after Doreen of course.

Recently Quinn and I sat down over triple soy half decaf extra grande lattes with a dusting of Guatemalan nutmeg to talk about her new book and well, life in general. And me. Honestly, the girl likes to talk a lot about me. (Ok, ok, confession: I was sipping coffee from Dunkins here at home while Quinn was in sunny LA, drinking iced chai tea in her pajamas, emails bridging the distance. Whatever. We were together in spirit.)

Fortunate for you, I am able to share some of our girl-chat with you today.

Me: I've just returned from a jaunt to Barnes & Noble where I picked up your book, "Notes from the Underwire". In spite of my repeated assurances to everyone that I was, in fact, your new BFF, they made me pay for it anyway. And it was so worth it! While my nose is still deep in the folds absorbing that new book smell, I have to take my face out of it for a moment to tell everyone out there: If you haven't had the opportunity to read it yet, you MUST! And I'm not just saying that because we're BFF's either.

Quinn: Thank you so much. So you don't want the other half of my heart necklace?

Me: That would be awesome, did you get my name engraved? Know what else is awesome? Your book. I love the stories you have shared about your relationship with Alice and found myself laughing and cringing right along with you. How was your relationship with your mom similar? How was it different?

Quinn: I'm fanatic about telling her the truth, which I think is very much how I was brought up. We laugh a lot; my mom and I did that. But my mother had to work for financial reasons and I'm home with her a lot more in any given week. Not better, not worse, not cheerleading for Team Stay at Home Mom, but it's very different.

Me: What was the biggest life lesson you learned from your mom that you hope to pass on to Alice?

Quinn: My mother told me often that my talent was very nice but it was something I couldn't help, it was a gift from God, but she took as much pride in my being punctual, professional and courteous. She was right; the arts are full of badly-behaved moderately talented people and very few make it the distance, because too many people are all too happy to see them fall.

Me: Speaking of writing, which post on my blog was your favorite and why? (Ok, just kidding. No not really)

Quinn: Oh, that one where you...said stuff! It was great! Really, hysterical. Also, I cried. The sordid truth is that I've been very light on reading first-person confessional blogs lately, because my writing-voice has a nasty habit of taking on the flavor of whatever I read. It's like literary tofu. I'm safest with pictures of cats captioned in pidgin English but really, aren't we all?

Me: During our conversation, you’ve said several really nice things to me. Thank you, you’re so sweet! What's the nicest thing a person ever said to you as a child? As an adult?

Quinn: There was an interview Tom Shayles did about me when I was a kid where he noted that, all things considered, I was a pretty normal little kid. Considering how weird I had seemed in every interview up until then, I remember being pleased. Now I like when I find someone who, commenting about my blog, describes me as "You know, a pretty normal person." When you're a former child actor, normal is a very big deal.

Me: So if you could either act or write, which one would you choose? What if you never had an audience to perform for or to read your writing, would you still choose the same?

Quinn: I wrote for several months before I got a hit counter or, as I refer to it, "The outer manifestation of my inner worth." During those months, I tended to assume no one was reading the blog, because I'm Eeyore-ish like that, and yet I kept doing it, because it pleased me and it made Consort laugh when he corrected my punctuation. I loved the bit of acting which comes between "Action" and "Cut," but I disliked the rest, and the actual acting part of the acting life is statistically insignificant. I've already spent more hours in happy pursuit of writing than I did acting.

Me: When writing your book, was there anything that you considered taking out before publication? Or was there anything that was removed that you regret deleting?

Quinn: I thought long and hard before I added in "Like a Tattoo on Your Butt," because I was concerned people would think it was an attack on my mom. She made a difficult decision about keeping a health situation secret because, among other reasons, she was afraid she would get fired for being sick. Anyone feels like judging her, they can answer to me. Anything I removed was for the best.

Me: Some people remove the nuts from their brownies. As my BFF, you know I prefer my brownies with nuts. Are you more of a "with nuts" kind of person, or "without"?

Quinn: See, nuts are perfect because then you can pretend you're only eating the brownie for the Omega-3's in the walnuts. That’s why I'd eat my weight in pesto with a clear and happy conscience, not to mention a wide and copious butt.

Me: If your book was a fine wine, would it be deep and peppery? Fruity and light? Would it go well with chocolate or brownies? How would you describe it?

Quinn: I'd like to think I was very drinkable and that I have a stronger kick than you'd expect. Also, oaky. I've always like that wine term and it would please me to be oaky.

Me: Since you’re not getting the hint that I’d like snacks and a beverage, let’s talk more about your book. Writers and actors everywhere talk about their "amazing journey"; it's become the catchphrase of our time (and one I despise). Without using the words "amazing" or "journey", tell me what led you to write about your, um, amazing journey.

Quinn: The kid who just sailed around the world before he turned eighteen is allowed to discuss his amazing journey. My book is a bunch of stuff. I like to think I probably have the same amount of embarrassing incidents as other people but am blessed with a nearly eidetic memory for my own petty humiliations and a lack of the genetic material which tells you when you're defaming everyone who shares your last name.

Me: You mentioned previously that "normal is a very big deal". Based on your book, that seems quite an accomplishment when living in LA. What do you do to stay normal?

Quinn: I live my life. Yesterday was publication day, which was exciting. But the kid still needed to get her hair trimmed and the dog had to have an antibiotic hidden in butter. It's hard to feel fancy when you're slipping a pill into a butter-pocket.

Me: Oh I know the feeling, girlfriend. I do the same for my husband’s sleeping pills. When he’s not sleeping, TK frequently steps up on his soap box (as written about in my blog) when it comes to certain political practices. I can get heated up when I discuss family issues. What gets you up on your soap box? And what does it take to bring you back down?

Quinn: People walking dogs who are abundantly unneutered make me start mumbling under my breath like a crazy person. Dude (and it's usually a man walking him), the world doesn't need another red-nosed pit, lop those off.

Me: Know what keeps me up at night? I think the next generation is suffering from many things but mostly, I worry about their lack of good ad slogans. We grew up wondering how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, wondering where the beef was and what we would do for a Klondike Bar. If you had only one catchy slogan used to sum up your life so far, what would it be? Would it be the same if you had to print it on t-shirts and hats and wear it until your dying day?

Quinn: I've always had a fondness for "Exit, pursued by a bear." It covers both my general lifetime unease and will, I suspect, also end up being my obit.

Me: That’s great, maybe a title for your next book? I confess that while I have not finished “Notes from the Underwire” yet, I did skim through the second half to ensure there was a "happily ever after" ending. Imagine my disappointment when one glaringly obvious fact became, well, glaringly obvious. I see that you forgot to mention me. Was that intentional? I mean, will there be a sequel featuring me? Or did I just ruin the surprise by asking that?

Quinn: It's like this. First, I stalk you. Then, I live behind your trash cans for a while. Then, I write about you. Now please stop bothering me; I'm weaving hair I found on your hairbrush into an ankle bracelet.

Quinn, thank you for being such a good sport and joining me on the blog today! Quinn's book "Notes from the Underwire" is available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and everywhere else really cool books by really cool people are sold.


TK said...

It seems that you and Doreen have found someone else that "gets you"...awesome interview. Quinn is obviously a good sport

Angie Ledbetter said...

Great interviewer/ee! I'm gonna have to get the book now.

Sara J. Henry said...

Great interview, Sharon! I can attest the book is wonderful - I finished it two days ago!

OHN said...

You are lucky to have a BFF that has written a book. My BFF has never read a book.
Wanna trade BFF's?

LadySaysAnything said...

Linda said: Love coming home from work and reading your blog. It makes me laugh, it makes me smile, people think I'm crazy sitting at my laptop laughing out loud! Hope you and TK, Doreen, The Moose and Ziggy (however, apparently, I call her G-Bell) have a great weekend and I'll talk to you when I'm back from Chicago.

Tanya Egan Gibson said...

As I wrote on Backspace, I loved this funny, entertaining interview! Hope Quinn makes a second hair bracelet for you to keep!

P.S. - I love *your* voice in it -- great tone. Adore the banter. (But not *adore* in that I'm-gonna-weave-a-hair-bracelet way)

Little Ms J said...

Love the interview, lady. You are entertaining and Quinn sounded like a lot of fun. I will definitely pick up the book!

Debbie said...

Wonderful interview! I need to add "literary tofu" to my daily vocabulary because I love it.